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Things to do in Poole, Dorset

Poole is a picturesque and historic town clustered around one of the largest natural harbours in the world. Life in Poole is relaxed with golden sandy beaches and many stunning opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors. Discover our favourite things to do in Poole, Dorset in this blog.

Outdoor things to do in Poole


Compton Acres

Address: 164 Canford Cliffs Road, Poole, Dorset, BH13 7ES

compton acres gardens in poole

Compton Acres in Poole is one of the finest privately-owned gardens in the south of England. Its circular design allows visitors to discover each of the gardens in turn. If you’re interested in buying some new plants, the Plant Centre must be included in your visit. In there, you can find a wide range of perennials, shrubs and seasonal bedding plants.

The café and tea rooms offer plenty of indoor seating and outdoor seating in the courtyard, and you can find a variety of traditional dishes on the menu, including eggs on sourdough, beer-battered catch of the day, and homemade risotto.

Brownsea Island

Address: Poole Harbour, Poole, Dorset, BH13 7EE

brownsea island in poole dorset

Owned by The National Trust, Brownsea Island is one of the best-known and largest of the harbour’s islands in Poole. The island is small enough to walk around in less than two hours, and it’s the perfect place for a picnic in peaceful surroundings.

The island offers stunning views of the Purbeck Hills, and it has a thriving natural habitat, including heathland, woodland and a lagoon. It’s famously the site of an experimental camp for boys run in 1907 by Lord Baden Powel, this camp formed the foundation of the modern Scout & Guide movements.

The Outdoor Centre is the perfect place for overnight stays, camping and activities such as archery and mini-golf.

Brownsea Island can only be accessed by ferry, and public vehicles are not allowed.


City Cruises Poole

Address: The Quay, Poole BH15 1BQ

boat rides in Poole Harbour Dorset

Explore Dorset’s sights as you’ve never seen them before. City Cruises in Poole offer a wide selection of cruises along Poole Harbour, the Jurassic Coast and Swanage. As well as enjoying stunning views, you can also treat yourself to an afternoon tea or lunch on board.

During the summer months, these cruises offer the best view of the sunset at Old Harry Rocks, and the summer fireworks displays on Poole Quay.


Sandbanks Beach

Address: Banks Road, Poole BH13 7QQ

sandbanks beach poole dorset

Considered one of Britain’s best beaches, Sandbanks Beach has been awarded the Blue Flag for over 30 years. It offers stunning views towards Old Harry Rocks and Studland, and on a bright and clear day, you’ll be able to see the Isle of Wight.

Sandbanks offer great facilities including a mini-golf course, crazy golf and a play area with swings, a climbing frame, and sand diggers. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can try some of the water sports on offer including kayaking, wind surfing and stand-up paddleboarding


Things to do in Poole on a rainy day


Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre of Arts

Address: 21 Kingland Road, Poole BH15 1UG

The lighthouse theatre and arts complex in Poole

Located in the heart of Poole town centre, Lighthouse is the largest regional arts centre in the UK and home to Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. This multi-space venue features a concert hall, mid-scale theatre, small-scale studio theatre, independent cinema, art galleries, and function room spaces. It also offers a extensive programme of arts, music, family theatre, visual arts, and films.


Poole Museum

Address: 4 High Street, Poole BH15 1BW

Poole Museum is located on Lower High Street in the Old Town area of Poole, and it offers plenty of interactive exhibits to keep all the family entertained.

If you want to find out more about the history of Poole, a guided tour of the displays and exhibitions at Poole Museum is the perfect activity for you. Entrance to the museum is free.


Living in Poole, Dorset

Our independent living communities for over 55s in Dorset are ready to welcome you. At Vista, you can relax in a tranquil setting and enjoy breath-taking views of Poole Harbour. However, if you’d like to live in the heart of Poole, Esprit is the perfect place for you as you’re only moments away from the shopping centre, high street and great transport links to take you across Dorset.

Each of our communities in Dorset offers stunning 1 and 2 bedroom apartments and you can find out more by calling our team on 01202 805546.


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